Australian Rocket Mail1

Date Cover Card Vignette Proof7 Sheetlet Comments
1934 December 4 R1 N/A R1b-Purple R1c R1a ss Canonbar to Brisbane - 897 were done
1935 August 11 R2 N/A R2b-Red R2c R2a Fraser Island to Maheno - 750 were done
1935 August 11 R3 N/A R3b-Green R3c R3a Maheno to Fraser Island - same design as R2 - 750 were done
1935 October 28 R4a R4 R4d-Purple R4e5 R4c Riverview to Moggill. A 13 registered covers exist. 400 + 90 cards were done
1936 February 24 R5a R5 R5d-Red R5e5 R5c Riverview to Moggill. 13 registered covers exist. 400 + 100 cards were done
1936 July 13 R6 N/A R6b-Brown R6c5 R6a Moggill to Riverview - 299 were done
1936 September 24 R7 N/A R7c-Green R7d5 R7b Enoggera Rifle Range Firing. 50 registered covers exist. 350 were done
1936 October 53 R84 N/A N/A N/A N/A Fishermen's Bend Firing - only 19 were done
1937 March 14 R9a R9 R9c-Blue R9d5 R9b Mr Nebo Firing - Incorrectly marked 7 March - 400 + 100 cards were done. A different postmark exists.
1937 March 23 R10a R10 R10c-Brown R10d R10b Enoggera Rifle Range Firing - 400 + 100 cards  were done
1937 May 10 R11 N/A N/A N/A N/A Coronation Rocket Firing. A cover with a postmark variation also exists. See also this one. - 500 were done
1964 March 263 R124 N/A N/A N/A N/A Bell Rocket Man Firing - only 6 were done
1964 March 283 R134 N/A N/A N/A N/A Bell Rocket Man Firing - only 19 were done
1975 March 28 R14 R14a N/A N/A N/A Bell Park Firing - 163 + 10 cards  were done
1992 October 22 R15 N/A N/A N/A N/A AUSROC II Firing. 200 covers were placed in the rocket (100 in the main body and 100 in the nose cone) and signed by various members of the team on the back. The rocket malfunctioned and the launch abandoned. A number of covers with a different cachet were left as unflown.
1995 May 263 R162 N/A N/A N/A N/A AUSROC II-2 Firing. 100 covers were launched and 100 were retained on the ground. The parachute failed and the covers were badly damaged. 67 were reconstructed in various states of repair and presented with an unflown cover (incorrectly marked) and two photographs in a dual side plastic sheet.
2000 July 31 (17?) N/A N/A N/A N/A  150 covers were launched on Zuni rockets. They were numbered on the back.
2000 October 3 (18?) N/A N/A N/A N/A 100 covers were launched on the Kistler Spacer Endevour Prize launch by the Australian Space Research Institute Ltd. (ASRT). They were numbered on the back.
2002 October 29 (19?)6 N/A N/A N/A N/A 50 covers were launched on two Zuni rockets, Z50 & Z51.  The parachute failed and 50 compressed covers were recovered. A limited number of 15 that were in good condition and were signed by the range Safety & Recovery Manager, Bruce Henderson. These were numbered on the back. Another batch of covers were not returned for the second postmark.
Other Items
  Item   Designation Description
Flimsy R4f Blue facsimile of 'Telegraph' front page - Flown in the covers
Flimsy R5f Red on yellow facsimile of 'Telegraph' front page - Flown in the covers
Cover None 25th anniversary of 1st rocket mail Canonbar to Brisbane - postmarked 4 Dec 1959 at Brisbane

R03 & RZ2
(R9 & R10)

Original document from Australian Rocket Society detailing the launch of R03 and RZ2 rockets during March 1937
Document Rocket (R16) Section of the Journal of the Scout and Guide Stamp Society of Australia from April 1975 detailing the launch of their rockets


1) All R numbers refer to The Australian Air Mail Catalogue by Nelson Eustis
2) The top cover was not flown. It is just an example of the covers that were flown. 200 covers were produced with 100 placed in the rocket and 100 left on the ground. The rocket failed to reach the correct height and thus when it returned to Earth it's parachute failed to open and it hit the ground very hard. The 100 covers were tawn apart, compressed and generally badly damaged. Jim Hill was able to put together 67 copies of greatly varying quality. These were presented in a double sided plastic sheet with an unflown example, unfortunately not correctly marked, and two photos.
3) Covers R8, R12, R13 & R16 have not been seen for many years.
4) Thanks to Charles Bromser
5) Seen on eBay
6) These covers were initally incorrectly postmarked on 8 October 2002. They were then returned to the Woomera post office and postmark on the correct date, 29 October 2002. Note that a small number of the incorrectly postmarked covers were not returned for a second postmark. They are not numbered. See this example.
7) An unknown but very small number of the black proofs were produced. There were 5 different designs (R2c & R3c as well as R4e & R5e are the same). The Vignettes only differ in colour but all proofs are black. After the experiments it is reported that the Queensland group decided to deface the plates to stop anyone from creating more vignettes and proofs. However, someone got hold of the defaced plates and produced an unknown number of defaced 'proofs'! These should be considered less valuable than the originals and, in fact, are not proofs. All except the R2c/R3c are defaced.


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Last modified on 5 December